Middlesbrough v Sheff Wed: Hard to oppose hosts here

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Middlesbrough and Sheffield Wednesday meet at the Riverside Stadium with both sides experiencing contrasting fortunes in the Championship to date.

Boro’s six-game winning streak came to an end in a 0-0 stalemate at Nottingham Forest last time out, as did Sheff Wed’s mini-revival of two straight wins when Blackpool ran out 2-0 winners at Hillsborough. That loss was the Owls’ eighth in 12 league games and it makes the hosts’ price of 5/6 to win here a very tempting one.

With five wins from seven home games this term, it’s difficult to look past Tony Mowbray’s promotion chasing side here, explaining Wednesday’s long-shot 10/3 price, while they’re 5/2 to snatch a point on Teesside.

Boro also have a strong record against their next opponents to boost their sky-high confidence, winning both their previous meetings at this level in 2009/10, as well as five of the eight that preceded it.

The sides’ most recent clash took place in the north east with the home team claiming a 1-0 victory courtesy of a single Scott McDonald strike. The in-form Aussie has notched five goals in his last seven in Boro colours and can be backed at 9/2 to break the deadlock here.

Four of Boro’s last six wins have all been by a single goal, two of them 1-0, alike three of Wednesday’s last four defeats. This outcome occurring again – a 1-0 home win – can be backed at 7/1.

The Owls’ best chance of finding a way past the frugal Boro backline – which is expected to be boosted by the return of stand-in captain Jonathan Woodgate – is on-loan teenage star Ross Barkley. The attacking midfielder is a big prospect for the future and, having bagged three goals in as many Wednesday games, looks good at 10/1 to open the scoring in this one.

The best bet here, however, is the 7/2 available for Boro to be level at the break before claiming the spoils in the second 45. For all their great form of late, they have only been leading at the break in one of their last eight league games, yet have won five of them.

All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date

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